Telling someone you’re studying abroad in London is synonymous with someone reminding you to pack a good rain jacket. You truly can’t say one without hearing the other.
And, I’ll be honest, it does rain a lot here, but rain in London is a lot different than in New York. The sky doesn’t open and pour for days straight. Instead, it drizzles on and off with no clear notion of when it will stop or start again.
Rain in London is a lot more polite, and a lot less overbearing, much like the people.
When I was younger, I thought rain boots were the coolest shoes ever. I would wear them on the driest days of the summer with a pair of shorts and imagine that I was Ramona from “Ramona and Beezus” and that the world at my fingertips was filled with untapped mischief. Rain boots are just shoes you wear on your feet when it rains, but when I wear rain boots, I regain the sense of invincibility that I had as a child.
There’s the idea that when you wear rain boots you might have the power to part the seas. You might, who’s to say you can’t? When you walk, water splashes in opposite directions. That’s almost the same thing.
This semester in London has helped me channel all the incoherent mumbles and grumbles I used to target towards the sky when it rained into a love that grows every day.
Now I like to tilt my head up when it rains and stretch my arms out, feeling the rain as a reminder of living in the present. I let my glasses cloud up with raindrops and look for people who also smile when it rains because they’re the best people to surround yourself with.
I’ve learned to love the rain and the way it can wash away the past and welcome the new. Rainy days don’t have to mean being stuck inside.
The other day I took a walk to the post office while it rained. Once I had finished the original errand, I looked around at the slick city streets reflecting a yellow glow from the crosswalks, baffled by London’s ability to remain so beautiful on even the gloomiest of days, and decided my walk was far from over.
On this walk, I explored paths I had never taken, saw people I had never seen and ended up at Hyde Park. Bundled up in my bright yellow rain jacket, with my cheetah print umbrella above my head, I could not have looked more ridiculous but I could not have been filled with more appreciation for the life I’ve gotten to experience this semester abroad.
Downpours and drizzles aren’t too bad when you’re surrounded by friends laughing as you try to escape getting wet. The overarching idea might be that when you’re with people who fill you with so much sunshine, you don’t need to worry about the next time the sky will shed some.
London isn’t London without the looming threat of rain, but if you have an umbrella and a few good pals by your side, you are a force to be reckoned with.